When I speak with start-up entrepreneurs and at business groups I am always amazed that so many intelligent business people hold onto the illusion that, “If I build it, they will come.”
Don’t get me wrong here… the occasional lead can be generated by an excellent tweet or someone’s random search on Google, but I think (deep down) most of us realise these are happy, but infrequent events.
And that’s why I don’t believe that online social networking is a new way of promoting your goods/services – it’s just the old way facilitated by new technology.
If you are unprepared to share your knowledge, help people out and put your own ideas “out there” then you’re just wasting your own time. Selling has always been about reassuring people that you are the best course for resolving some, or all, of their business challenges.
So here’s the Top 11 from my perspective:
- Focus hard on “who” you want to network with and “why”.
- Establish where these people gather and get in there.
- Be prepared to talk on the phone and meet too.
- But don’t be scared to work globally and virtually either.
- Remember, a purchase order is not a piece of paper – it’s a transfer of trust.
- Be ready with additional information when asked, e.g. PDF brochures, testimonials, case studies, etc.
- Have a LinkedIn or Plaxo account (or both) and use them.
- Honour your followers, friends and recipients, i.e. succinct, useful information.
- Keep “fun” networking (i.e. friends) and “business” networking separate wherever possible.
- Look for complementary contacts where you can help one another generate sales or improve mutual propositions.
- Be consistent.
All sounds like basic common sense doesn’t it? But I continually shock myself at how bad I am at actually doing it.